'Pack the gym for Em' event well attended

Wanda English Burnett

Emily Huntington was absent from senior night at Jac-Cen-Del on Tuesday, January 31, but present in the hearts of those who gathered in her memory. The 18-year-old lost her life in a tragic vehicle accident on December 30.

The night was a huge success as a dinner event got underway to raise money for the Live...Laugh...Learn Scholarship Fund in memory of Huntington. The JCD senior was a forward/guard on the Lady Eagles team and was described as a wonderful, amazing person who was friends with everyone.

The event dubbed “Pack the Gym for Em” raised over $12,000 just that night. A large crowd converged on the school before the game began. Those attending had a purpose - to raise money for the scholarship and to remember a beautiful life.

JCD High School Principal Johnny Budd told The Versailles Republican the night was far above anything he anticipated. He said he is so proud of the community for pulling together the way they did. “We had everything donated, and even had enough desserts left over to feed more people,” he noted on Wednesday after the event. Budd said Gold Star Chili provided food and workers to serve along with Neal’s Chop Shop who provided barbecue.

Other businesses who contributed to the success of the evening include: Comer Buildings, Margaret Mary Community Hospital, Wendys of Batesville, The Gooseberry Flower and Gift Shop and Gilpins Screen Printing.

“People in the community donated so much,” Budd noted. He said he was simply overwhelmed with the outpouring of love for this family and the memory of a student who was loved in life and death.

“It was well done, well organized,” noted Gary Franklin, sports editor for the Osgood Journal and The Versailles Republican newspapers. He said there was a large crowd who responded to the invitation to help get the scholarship off the ground. Altogether, the scholarship fund total now stands at $26,249.00.

After eight senior members of the JCD Lady Eagle team were honored, Emily Huntington, was also honored, along with her parents, Leonard Huntington, and Jodi and Jason Comer and her siblings, Luke, Ty and Beckham.

Mark Meyer, athletic director, presented the family with a $500 donation to the scholarship fund on behalf of the Ohio River Valley Conference. The JCD Athletic Department presented Emily’s parents with her framed #20 basketball jersey. “Emily has impacted so many of us during her short time; let’s all remember her for the joy she brought us and by her motto ‘Live...Laugh...Learn’. We miss you Emily,” noted Meyer.

Huntington’s mother, Jodi Comer addressed the crowd thanking them for everything they have done to remember her daughter. “Thank you seniors...enjoy the remainder of your senior year,” she told them.

Editor’s note: Watch for more coverage on the event on next week’s sports pages.